Drug-fuelled crimes earn woman nine months in jail

Woman who stole a CN truck then led Ponoka RCMP on a chase nets term behind bars

The woman responsible for a lengthy police chase late last year has received nine months in jail.

Amanda Rau, 30, was handed the sentence in Ponoka Provincial Court on May 24, appearing via closed-circuit television from the Edmonton Remand Centre.

Rau pleaded guilty last November to seven charges stemming from the Sept. 23, 2018 incident where she stole a rail maintenance truck from a Ponoka gas station and led police on a chase that, at times, reached speeds over 200 km/h. She was eventually caught on property near the Samson Cree Nation attempting to steal another vehicle after crashing the first truck.

However, the need for a pre-sentence report as well as admittance to a drug rehabilitation program prompted the judge at the time to delay sentencing.

READ MORE: Woman in theft of CN truck from Ponoka pleads guilty

Unfortunately for Rau, it wasn’t long before she breached the conditions of her release and wound up racking up several more charges. Those included failure to comply with a court order, providing a false name, shoplifting and failing to participate in a court ordered program. Guilty pleas on those counts were made in an Edmonton court last month.

Judge E.D. Riemer issued a six month sentence on the Ponoka charges then tacked on an additional three months for the resulting charges out of Edmonton, agreeing to nearly all of the recommendations in a joint sentencing submission. With credit for time served, Rau still has just under three months left in her sentence.

The judge did stray from the recommendations in other portions of the sentence, handing down 18 months probation and a one year driving ban that kick in after Rau is released from custody.

Rau did read an emotional apology letter to the court prior to being sentenced. In it, she apologized to anyone that may have been impacted by her “selfish actions” and “accepts responsibility for them” adding that she tried to bury herself with her addictions and now realizes “I need to work on my problems.”

She also wanted to ask for forgiveness and wished peace to be on those that she has wronged plus was glad that no one was harmed. The apology ended with Rau stating, “I want to let this be a story that turns into a positive and will divert others from this kind of life.”

In delivering the sentence, Judge Riemer acknowledged the apology as well as the pre-sentence report as showing just how Rau’s life was traumatic, dysfunctional and self destructive.

The judge explained how opioids took over much of her life, leading to many of her poor choices. He added, “She was given numerous chances to change, but never fully appreciated that actions were needed to back up the words.”

That caution was used again by the judge noting, “After being clean for a short period of previous custody, you felt you didn’t require more help. I hope and want to think that now this change in you is genuine and that it reflects reality.

“Seeking forgiveness is noble, but unless you change your choices and cooperate with the help you are being given, it is quite likely your life will again spiral into the abyss. And if you do return, you will then be held accountable more severely for your choices.”

Back on the run

A Spruce Grove man that was arrested by Ponoka RCMP for a violation of the conditions of his statutory release is now the subject of an arrest warrant.

Collin James Courteoreille, 25, was picked up by police on May 15 around 2:30 a.m. following a report of a suspicious person at a rural property. It’s alleged he gave a false name to officers and was charged with obstruction and identity fraud.

He was released pending a May 24 appearance in Ponoka Provincial Court, but the judge issued a warrant after Courteoreille failed to show up.

Courteoreille was sentenced in 2016 on charges of criminal negligence causing death and possession of a prohibited weapon without a licence following the death of a friend in 2014 and was out of jail after serving two-thirds of his sentence.

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